From automating IT and business processes to deploying AI driven customer service solutions, businesses of all sizes and across most industries of course are working through a digital transformation. Bill Detwiler and I discussed the 2018 Digital Transformation Research Report, which was produced by TechRepublic and ZDNet sibling site Tech Pro Research. The following is an edited transcript of the interview.
Karen: So Bill, you looked at digital transformation back in 2017 and again this year, so what were some of the most interesting changes you uncovered?
Bill: Thanks Karen. So one of the things that we found that was the same between both years is that most companies are working on digital transformation strategy. And there were only about 20% of companies that don't have strategy or aren't working on a strategy right now. Another thing that is really interesting is that the same three things topped our list of actions that companies were taking or had taken as part of their digital transformation strategy. So at the top we have shifting to online services, digital tools to reduce the use of paper. We also have the use of social and not just in terms of customer outreach or customer management, but in for things like marketing, sales, recruiting and then at number three on the list was the use of online tools for employee training.
SEE: Digital transformation: A guide for CXOs (Tech Pro Research)
Karen: So Bill what do you think going forward, what are companies planning to do next year as part of this whole strategy?
Bill: It's kind of hard to know exactly, but when we do ask people about they're going to do in the next twelve months, we kind of found some similarities between 2017 and 2018. The number two and number three on our list are the same. So number two we have using data analytics for risk assessment, sales predictions things like that, and again we talked about this earlier, reducing paper use by shifting to online or digital tools. Now what is surprising and what is different between 2017 and 2018 is the top of the list here. In 2017 companies reported that they were moving systems to the cloud as part of their digital transformation strategy. Now in 2018 use online tools for employee training topped the list. So that was one change.
Karen: And why do you think that is?
Bill: It's hard to tell but it could be that most of those companies that had planned to move a shift to the cloud have already done that last year and now are moving past that.
SEE: Digital Transformation: A CXO's Guide (ZDNet)
Karen: Alright now what are some of the challenges that some of these companies are reporting?
Bill: There are always roadblocks, especially with these large IT projects. And so it's no surprise that finding room in the budget also topped the list in 2018 like it did in 2017. Now what is interesting here, again we have a shift in the second and sort of the third sports. In 2017 it was all about convincing employees that this digital transformation was going to be beneficial. Or securing those digital systems. In 2018 it's all about training employees to use those new systems and getting buy-in from management.
- Digital transformation: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- Digital transformation: An IT pro's guide (TechRepublic download)
- Digital transformation: A guide for CXOs (Tech Pro Research)
- What is digital transformation? Everything you need to know about how technology is reshaping business (ZDNet)
- 6 ways to delete yourself from the internet (CNET)
Karen Roby is a reporter for TechRepublic. Prior to joining CBS Interactive, Karen worked as an anchor and reporter for several CBS affiliate stations owned by Hearst Communications and Gray Television.